News Notes

Violent TIMES

It seems Kashmir is heading back to turbulent times. At least, recent attacks on government forces in Valley and now an arrest of a Kashmiri youth, Liaqat Ali by Uttar Pradesh police on Friday have added to this belief.

Ali, hailing from Kupwara has been described as suspected Hizb-ul-Mujahideen militant by UP police, the police claim they have unearthed a plot to create terror in the city ahead of Holi, and are looking out for more operatives who might have sneaked in. A raid police says was conducted and an AK-47 and ammunition were recovered.

The development came a few days after a temporary sanitary health inspector in the health department of Jammu and Kashmir was arrested by police from his Kanispora residence in Baramulla. Pradeep Singh who was posted in Tangmarg as temporary health inspector has been arrested in connection with the recent Bemina Fidayeen attack which five CRPF men and two militants.

His wife Harmeet Kour cleared the air by saying that some days ago her husband had called her to say that some people had forcibly entered his government residence in Tangmarg saying they “if they were not allowed to stay in his place they would kill him.”

A few days after his arrest, Police said the Bemina Fidayeen attack case has been solved after the arrest of four persons. “Let me tell you that it was a module of four and we have busted it,” Abdul Gani Mir, IGP Kashmir stated. “Till now we have arrested four persons and the investigation of the case has been entrusted to a Special Investigation Team.”

On March 13, at around 10.45 AM, two militants entered the sports ground of Police Public School, Bemina (PPS) and attacked the CRPF personnel put on standby deployment for dealing with law and order in wake of a strike call announced by separatists. The incident resulted in death of five CRPF personnel and injuries to a few CRPF personnel and four civilians. In the ensuing gunfight, both the militants were gunned down by the first responders from CRPF and district police Srinagar.

While police was briefing press conference, claiming fidayeen attack was busted, at the same time, Sopore boy was gunned down in a mosque by an unidentified gunman.

Eleventh class student, Suhail had entered inside the mosque to save himself after he had seen the gunmen chasing him. Hundreds of people were seen in the slain boy’s funeral. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Wednesday sharply reacted to the killing. He took a dig at those who are selective in condemning the killings in Kashmir. “Want to see the hypocrisy of selective outrage?. Compare reactions on my Twitter Time Line today to those exactly a week,” Omar wrote on Twitter.

Police claimed that preliminary investigation into the murder of Suhail reveals that militants of Lashkar-e-Toiba have killed him. Amid growing security concerns, three BSF troopers were injured in the attack when suspected militants fired at their vehicle in Gulshan Nagar, Nawgam, a city outskirts area. One of the injured later succumbed to his injuries.

YATRA Boards

A new shrine board is making its presence felt in the state of J&K that is already hosting six yatras annually. Each yatra is being manned by its individual shrine board. Now the government will set up another shrine board, this time for the shrine of Mata Sukhrala Devi and Mata Bala Sundari. A bill for setting up the board was introduced by Tourism Minister Ghulam Ahmad Mir to the assembly on Wednesday.

The Bill provides for the better management, administration and governance of and its endowments including the lands and buildings attached, or appurtenant, to the shrines and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

With this the number of Hindu shrine boards across J&K will go to five across the state. Already, Vaishno Devi in Katra, Amarnath cave in Kashnmir, Shiv Khori in Reasi, and Machail Yatra (Bhaderwah-Poonch) have autonomous shrine boards.

Meanwhile, Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, (SASB) has decided to provide an insurance cover of Rs one lakh in case of accidental death within the state of Jammu and Kashmir during the Yatra 2013, period. The decision to this effect has been taken by the SASB on the instructions of N N Vohra, Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, who is also the Chairman of SASB. The insurance will cover all the intending pilgrims possessing valid registration.

But lately, South Kashmir Civil Society (SKCS) expressed its concern over the frequency of yearly Amarnath Yatra stretched over a long period of almost two months. SKCS has said that the long stretched yatra will have very adverse impacts upon fragile environment of Pahalgam valley in particular.

“Besides, construction of concrete pathway leading to holy cave will badly effect the eco system of the valley especially some world famous glaciers along with some lagoons like Sheeshnag etc. and the helicopter services used for the yatra has already hastened the melting process of glaciers representing the lifeline of the ravines with a classical example of Kolhoi glacier,” the statement added.

Illegal MIGRANTS

The upper house of the assembly this week witnessed uproar over the illegal settlements of the non-state subjects, putting up particularly in Sidhra and Qasim Nagar areas of Jammu city.

Although MLA Raman Bhalla was earlier in favour of the motion that the non-inhabitants should be given Permanent Residential Certificates (PCR’s) he later vehemently opposed the motion with other members of the house.

Raman Bhalla’s confrontation on the issue of illegal settlements was opposed even in certain sections of media. The same issue was again taken up in the Legislative Council this week with opposition parties strongly casting allegations on the government for not taking ‘stringent action on the issue.’

The members of the legislative council alleged that the government ‘failed’ to verify the identity of such occupant inhabitants. It was also alleged that fake PCR’s were issued to non-indigenous inhabitants ‘putting up permanently in parts of Jammu city and permanent residential structures have been constructed.’

The issue of non-resident dwellings has been a concern in the state, with refugees settled in many parts of the state and acquired state subjects. To tackle the issue, the government has constituted State Subject Commission which has the responsibility of verifying the state subjects and keep a check on ‘fake PCR’s.’

The members of the upper house resolved that the land should be given to non-local inhabitants for business purpose on lease. The state is currently seeing an inflow of non-local residents, coming in as labourers and other artisans. The people of the state would not want the situation to go the “Dubai-way”, where the indigenous population has actually gone into minority because of the migrants coming in from asian countries.

A Resolution WAR

In an attempt to give impetus to the Kashmir issue, the Pakistan’s parliament last week passed a resolution condemning parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s secrete hanging inside New Delhi’s Tihar jail. The house demanded the return of Guru’s body to his family, which was buried inside the Tihar Jail.

The resolution was moved in the National Assembly or lower house of parliament by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who heads a special parliamentary panel on Kashmir.

Besides condemning Guru’s hanging, the resolution expressed concern at the situation in Kashmir in the aftermath of the execution.

The parliamentary resolution urged the international community, which it blamed of remaining silent on Kashmir issue, to help find a solution to the Kashmir dispute.

It said steps should be taken to implement the United Nations Security Council’s resolutions on the Kashmir issue.

The resolution called for an end to killings in Kashmir and the removal of the army from towns and cities of the Kashmir.

The resolution reiterated that the people of Kashmir are fighting for their right of self determination as per the UN charter, UN resolutions (on Kashmir), universal declaration for human rights and it is their fundamental right.

Pakistan is supportive of this genuine struggle of Kashmir’s and assures the people of Kashmir that they are not alone in this struggle as the entire Pakistani nation is supporting them on political, diplomatic and moral fronts.

The resolution pressed that Kashmir is an unsettled issue as per the UN resolutions and is not India’s internal matter.

 Film on MC KASH

A documentary film on Kashmiri rapper Roushan Illahi aka Mc Kash of I Protest fame is being screened across India after it was premiered at 3rd Goa Arts and Literary Festival held at the International centre, Goa.

Roushan plays the lead role in the film titled ‘Take it in Blood’ directed by a well known film maker Rana Ghose. Twenty-two year old Roushan has been writing poetry since he was 10 years old. The film is an account of people who were subjected to human rights violations in Kashmir. It chronicles the stories of Kashmiris who were subjected to torture, sexual abuse, custodial deaths and rapes.

Roushan launched his debut album Rebel RepubliK along with his official website last year. Rebel RepubliK, which Roushan made available free of cost for downloads through his website became instant hit among young Kashmiris.

Roushan shot to limelight after his first single titled I Protest, became instant hit during summer 2010 protests. Since then he has recorded a number of hit rap songs including ‘Take It In Blood’ featuring Haze Kay. The song chronicles the struggle of Kashmiri women whose children were disappeared in two decade long conflict in Kashmir.

On the other hand two films shot in Kashmir bagged the awards of best film and best investigative film at 60th National awards held at New Delhi. Shepherds of Paradise, a film depicting the nomadic life of Gujjars and Bakerwals of Jammu & Kashmir and Inshallah Kashmir, a non-Kashmiris trying to understand the complexities of Kashmir issue. Both the films were lauded at an event held in New Delhi on the 60th National Awards.

Kashmir based actor turned director Aamir Bashir’s film Harud, bagged best film in Urdu at 60th National Awards. Harud (autumn) focuses more on Kashmir than the Kashmir issue.

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